Reps push for 5% yearly allocation to NASS, federal judiciary

The House of Representatives is set to begin the process of amending the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 in the next few weeks.

The proposed amendment is a sequel to a bill set for presentation on the floor of the Green Chamber sponsored by the member representing Oriade/Obokun Federal Constituency, Osun State, Mr Oluwole Oke.

The Fiscal Responsibility Act enacted in July 2007 during the administration of late President Umaru Yar’ Adua provided for the prudent management of the nation’s resources, ensured long-term macro-economic stability of the national economy, secured greater accountability and transparency in fiscal operations within a medium-term fiscal policy framework.

A copy of the draft bill exclusively obtained by our correspondent revealed that the House seeks to insert a new section immediately after Section 54 of the Principal Act.

Titled “A Bill for an Act to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007,” it seeks the insertion of Section 54(a) to “Make provision for the allocation of five per cent each to the National Assembly and the Federal Judiciary in the Appropriation Act for each year.”

In a letter addressed to the Clerk of the House, dated February 6, 2024, Oke who chairs the House Committee on Judiciary, submitted the bill for further legislation to enable him to present the same on the floor at plenary.

While Section 54 of the Act provides that the Federal Government may provide technical and financial assistance to states and Local Governments that adopt similar fiscal responsibility legislation along the same line as this Act, however, the proposed Section 54(a) read, “Notwithstanding any other provision of the Principal Act, the National Assembly and the Federal Judiciary shall each be entitled to a minimum of five per cent of the entire budgetary provision in the Appropriation Act for each year. This Bill may be cited as the Fiscal Responsibility Act (Amendment Bill), 2024.”

The National Assembly in November 2023 while adopting the 2024-2026 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper submitted by President Tinubu, had pledged to amend the FRA as part of the steps to address corruption, block revenue leakages and waste of public resources.

At the plenary, the two chambers adopted the report of the Joint Committees on Finance, Appropriations, National Planning/Economic Affairs, and Local and Foreign Debts and noted that “The National Assembly shall commence the process of amending the FRA to enhance the agency’s ability to enforce fiscal responsibility and impose sanctions on erring corporations specifically, with regards to Sections 21 (1) and 22 (1) (2).”

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